I have written several times about dove orchids and their fabled ability to predict rain, trying to test whether the fable is true or false. I followed up this post in January 2015 with comments recording flowerings and rain, and they weren’t doing too badly. But then came the Wet (well, as much of a Wet as we seem likely to get) and they failed utterly.
The flowers in my photo appeared on Saturday the 12th in the first blossoming since Christmas, so our doves had totally ignored decent rainfall on the 3rd, 10th and 30th of January, the 1st and 9th of February and the 1st, 4th-5th-6th, 9th and 10th of March (stats are here, with a bit of digging – links to BoM data are once-only).
The rain we got on the night of Feb 8th (which shows up as Feb 9th in the records) was far greater than shown in the ‘Townsville’ statistics which come from the airport some distance away. Aplin’s Weir, our nearest weather station, recorded 91mm in 30 minutes, 143mm in an hour and 181mm within two hours; it was accompanied by serious thunder and lightning, too.
The orchids didn’t ‘predict’ any of these falls, nor (for the record) did they flower nine days after any of them, as the accepted science says they should have done. Even the thunderstorms didn’t prompt them to flower. If (and I’ve got to say it’s a big ‘if’) we get a lot of rain around the 21st, I will be grateful but I won’t be saying, ‘I expected it because the orchids flowered.’ They are beautiful but unreliable.